Lowestoft strive for Vase final glory

LOWESTOFT Town are not even thinking about Wembley, despite already having one foot in the final of the FA Vase.The Blues walloped Whitley Bay 4-0 in the first leg of their semi-final at Crown Meadow last weekend, and today they will be hoping to complete the job in North Tyneside.

Carl Marston

LOWESTOFT Town are not even thinking about Wembley, despite already having one foot in the final of the FA Vase.

The Blues walloped Whitley Bay 4-0 in the first leg of their semi-final at Crown Meadow last weekend, and today they will be hoping to complete the job in North Tyneside.

However, as joint manager Ady Gallagher was quick to stress, the Suffolk side are taking nothing for granted. Wembley remains a dream, not yet a reality.


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“I said that we were definitely the underdogs before the first leg, and we will be going up there as the underdogs for the second leg,” insisted Gallagher.

“Last Saturday was just one game. Whitley Bay had been firm favourites to win the trophy, and they will clearly be hurt after happened to them at our place.

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“Nothing went right for them, and they will be looking to make amends in front of their own fans. We must take nothing for granted, because football can have a funny habit of biting you if you're off your guard.

“Whitley Bay have big expectations, and we must be prepared for every eventuality. We must prepare fully. We will certainly be giving them our utmost respect. I don't know whether they under-estimated us last week, or whether it was just us playing so well.

“It is everyone's dream to play at Wembley, but we can't afford to focus on the finish-line until the end of the race. There is a massive prize at the end of the two legs for one team, but we mustn't look too far ahead.

“We are expecting an intimidating atmosphere, and they'll be giving it a real go. If they start well, then their tails will be up, so we must be cautious in our approach,” added Gallagher.

The Lowestoft squad flew up to the north-east yesterday, to prepare for what is the biggest away game in the club's history - and probably their longest ever away trip for a competitive match.

They played at Newcastle Benfield a couple of seasons ago, also in the FA Vase, and have also faced opposition in Bristol, but this represents an even further journey.

Joint boss Gallagher continued: “We are indebted to our chairman, Geoff Price, and the rest of the committee for funding our flight. It's a fantastic gesture ahead of a very important semi-final in a national competition.”

Goals from Richard Woodrow (2), Russell Stock and Jamie Godbold stunned Whitley Bay, who beat Tiptree United to win the FA Vase in 2002, in front of a crowd of over 2,000 at Crown Meadow last Saturday.

The visitors cause was certainly not helped by the sending-off of Brian Rowe after just 13 minutes, and they will certainly have to keep their discipline if they are to stage a fight-back this afternoon.

An injury to keeper Andy Reynolds, who dislocated his hip and ended up in hospital, was the only downside for Lowestoft last weekend. But Reynolds is already making a quick recovery.

As reported in yesterday's EADT it was originally thought he would be out for this week. However, now that may not be the case totally.

“We think that Andy's hip popped out and then popped back in. It was very painful and he was on crutches on Saturday night and Sunday,” revealed Gallagher.

“But he was at training on Tuesday, although he did not train himself, and we haven't ruled him out of playing a part this weekend.

“In Adam Rix we have an excellent replacement, and we have also included a third keeper in Paul Gant as a precaution.”

Lowestoft's squad will be further strengthened by the return of Darren Cockrill after suspension and Matty Potter after injury.

Although Whitley Bay were the hot favourites to regain their trophy, before the semi-final draw was made, the odds are now stacked against them. The Blues will surely never have a better opportunity to reach Wembley.

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